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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Educating and evaluating teachers in Washington

Teachers should be evaluated in a nuanced way

The Times asserts that “assessments should be more nuanced” with respect to the evaluation of teachers-training programs done by the National Council on Teacher Quality and U.S. News & World Report. [“Editorial: Time to re-evaluate teacher training,” Opinion, June 24.]

One of Washington’s college programs received three stars out of four, and the rest received “mixed or low marks.” The Times’ reaction is that “low marks should not automatically consign a program to failure.”

When it comes to teacher evaluation, The Times has supported a four-step rating system. It always makes sense to work with people, rather than simply searching for “failures.”

Mary Wallon, Seattle

Standards for teachers are low

When I was hired as an educator, the advice I received from my principal and other teachers was to “forget everything you learned at the college of education.” How true it was.

I felt so unprepared that I spent one year in a history teacher’s classroom to learn how to teach history and how to deal with nonacademic issues.

There are two other problems associated with the making of teachers: some online “universities” offer a master’s in education after one year of studies, while state universities offer only a BA in education after one year. That can mean a big difference in pay. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction also allows social-studies-endorsed teachers to teach history, for instance, without having taken history classes, let alone having a bachelor’s in history.

James Behrend, Bainbridge Island

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